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You may have to pick up a Nevada television station to see it, but if you do, expect the presidential race "to get nasty" next year, with fear-mongering and personal attacks defining both the Democratic and Republican campaigns, political analyst David Gergen said.

"I think it's going to get nasty, because that's the way each side energizes its base," said Gergen, who was on the phone this morning ahead of a speaking engagement in Sacramento on Nov. 29.

President Barack Obama's supporters are less enthusiastic than they were in 2008, for instance. "How do you get them out to vote? Well, you scare the hell out of them about the other side," Gergen said.

"And if you're a Republican," he added, "and you've got a candidate like (Mitt) Romney, who is not exactly a runaway favorite among the tea partyers, how do you get the tea partyers out to vote? You scare the hell out of them."

It should make for entertaining TV in competitive states. But probably not in California, where Obama is so heavily favored that no Republican is expected to campaign seriously. "I think California is going to be spared most of the advertising," Gergen said.

So what's the Golden State to do?

"Be well governed," Gergen said.

Gergen -- a political adviser to four presidents, three of them Republican -- said people on the East Coast don't hear as much about California Gov. Jerry Brown as they did his celebrity predecessor, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. But the impression Brown is making is a good one, Gergen said.

"He seems to be, from afar, seems to be someone who is trying to do responsible things," Gergen said. "To the extent people are paying attention, I think they see a governor who is not a knee-jerk Democratic liberal."



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